Mark Ellis pays tribute to M Cherif Bassiouni


M Cherif Bassiouni, 1937-2017

The passing of Professor M Cherif Bassiouni represents an enormous loss for all those involved in the advancement of international criminal justice.

In this field, Cherif was a giant. He, as much as any individual, was responsible for the growth of international justice in the twentieth century. I first met Cherif at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the transformation of the former Soviet Union. I then engaged more closely with him when he chaired the Commission of Experts established by the United Nations Security Council in 1992 to investigate the atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia.

Cherif’s work led directly to the creation of the first post-World War II war crimes tribunal – the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. This, in turn, led to the world’s first and only permanent international criminal court of last resort.

Cherif actively participated in a number of IBA projects, including being a member of the IBA’s groundbreaking Terrorism Task Force, created after 9/11. In 2013, Cherif was bestowed the Stockholm Human Rights Award, an annual award presented by the IBA and the Swedish Bar Association for extraordinary achievements in the field of human rights.

He will be missed greatly.

Dr Mark Ellis
IBA Executive Director